Carolina Journal’s Barry Smith reports here on a program from Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina that hopes to bring public charter schools to rural counties that don’t have them. The group’s leader, Darrell Allison, explains the goal.

The accelerator program is working to open charter schools in the fall of 2014 in Bertie, Halifax, and Scotland counties, none of which has a charter.

“We’re talking about counties in regions where we’ve had a historically dismal performance,” Allison said.

PEFNC notes that the three counties have an average end-of-grade test passage rate of 49 percent. The graduation rates are 76 percent in Halifax and Scotland counties and 72 percent in Bertie County.

“We are trying to offer very high quality options to students who don’t currently have options available to them in some of our state’s underachieving districts,” 
said Christopher Gergen, who has been retained by PEFNC to help create the program. Gergen, a Durham-based entrepreneur and management consultant, has experience working with private and charter schools to improve their leadership and student performance.

“We’re not focused on output, we’re focused on outcomes,” Gergen said. 

Gergen said the accelerator draws on similar programs in Chicago, Denver, and New Orleans.